At the 2023 KOVO (Korea Volleyball Organization) Women’s Foreign Player Draft held on May 14 in Turkkiye Istanbul, IBK was lucky enough to select Brittany Abercrombie (USA-Puerto Rico/191 cm/OP) with the first overall pick.
Abecrombie, who had been eyed by head coach Kim Ho-cheol, arrived at the tryout on the last day due to her team’s postseason game, but she made up for it in a short amount of time.
Three months later, on August 18, Abercrombie arrived in South Korea and joined the IBK squad.
Two weeks later, Abercrombie’s adjustment to Korea has gone very well, and he is pleased.
“I love it here,” Abercrombie said. “Everything is running very efficiently. It’s also clean. I’m especially happy with the facilities at the IBK training center.”
“First of all, the defense is very good,” said Abercrombie, who has been participating in team drills and getting up to speed with his teammates. However, there is a height difference from the teams I have played so far. The style of play is going to be a little different. I’m getting over it. It’s a process that I have to adjust to.”
“So far, I’ve been communicating with my teammates in English. Now we’re talking through an interpreter. That’s something I need to get used to quickly,” he added.
He’s adjusting well to life in Korea and has a good grasp of the practicalities. That’s important for a foreign player to do well, and Abercrombie looks promising in that regard.
“I know there are high expectations for me,” he said. As a foreign player, there is always pressure. It was the same when I played in the Turkiye League or the German League. My attacking percentage was always high. I think it will be high this time too. I just need to prepare with my teammates. In all the matches I was the apogee spiker. If I play well, I will have a higher share. No problem,” she said.
For now, Abercrombie is teaming up with Kim Ha-kyung and Kim Yoon-woo. Ponpun Gedpard (THA), the No. 1 pick in the Asian Quarterfinals, is competing in the Asian Championships with the national team. He will join the team immediately after the Olympic Trials and the Hangzhou Asian Games.
“She’s a very good setter, so there’s no pressure,” Abercrombie said. I’ve played with setters before and had good chemistry with them in matches after three or four days of rest. I don’t think it will be a problem this time.”
“I’ve already watched a lot of videos of Phonpun’s play, I’ve seen his VNL (Volleyball Nations League) and World Championship performances, and I’m looking forward to a good chemistry,” he added.
Abercrombie lives in an apartment near the training center with an interpreter. She has been well-supported in Korea. On weekends when the weather is nice, she travels to the new city of Dongtan to go shopping and find cafes and restaurants. When he needs to relax, he stays at home and uses a massage machine and watches movies and TV shows through OTT services.
He says, “Life in Korea is fun. My father is coming to Korea in time for the holidays. My boyfriend is coming in December, and my friends in San Diego are coming in time for the Major League Baseball Opening Day next March.”
“I’m a Padres fan,” said Abercrombie, who grew up in San Diego. I know how good Kim is. But the Padres are not doing well this year. I don’t remember them ever having a good season. They’re one of the teams that hasn’t won a World Series,” he said.
Abercrombie is focused on getting stronger for the rest of the season in preparation for the V-League, which begins in October. “There’s still a lot of season left,” he said. “Fitness is important for me to be able to attack more. I’m working on my strength. I need to get stronger. I’m also continuing to work on my blocking with my coach,” he said.
IBK IBK head coach Kim Ho-cheol said, “Abecrombie is adapting well to the team. I believe he will do a good job. We are trying to create a system with fast play rather than strong offense. It’s a concern that he hasn’t played with Ponpun much, but I think he’ll be able to work well with him in training. I’ve also seen some powerful attacks. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season and focusing on getting to know them.”안전놀이터
Abercrombie added: “The seven players selected in Istanbul are all very good players. I was surprised and honored to be picked first. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself, I just want to do better,” he smiled. He was confident, too.